The World Health organisation has declared outbreaks of polio in Asia, Africa and the Middle East as an “extraordinary event”.
It is calling for an “international response” to the potential spread of the disease which targets mainly under fives and can cause paralysis.
The WHO has pinpointed Pakistan, Cameroon and the Syrian Arab Republic posing the greatest risk of the wild poliovirus being exported.
The organisation recommends that people from those countries affected should carry a vaccination certificate.
Syria which was free of the virus for 14 years was re-infected from Pakistan. Attacks on vaccination programmes within the country has led to the virus crossing borders.
It is only the second time in its history that the World Health Organisation has made such a declaration.
It wants to eradicate the disease which is transmitted in contaminated food and water everywhere by 2018. This latest news highlights the challenges it faces if it is to reach its goal to stamp out what is one of the world’s most serious vaccine preventable diseases.